Retirement is not a word Sam Lonergan has muttered, but it is increasingly unlikely the Launceston coach will pull on the boots again this season.
The 31-year-old has only played three matches this season following a hamstring tear and serious ankle injury and has become more focused on coaching his third-placed charges.
June 30 against Glenorchy was his last outing with the Blues regaining their early season form of late following a mid-season five-match losing streak.
And he doesn’t want to push any of his devoted players out – especially those like Chayce Jones, Ethan Jackson, Tom Mundy, Jamieson House, Tim Auckland and Jared Dakin who are in the frame to be drafted this year or next.
“Watching the game live, opposition tactics and bits and pieces unfold is certainly beneficial as a coach in the box,” Lonergan said.
“Even though you are still capable of doing it while playing, your’re not getting that bird’s-eye view.
“From the three games I’ve played this year, the players get a better message at break, better individualised messages than they did when I was playing.”
Lonergan played 17 matches last season and led the Blues to the preliminary final, however, he spent little time on getting himself right to line up.
However, he said if he was to play again in 2018 he would have to spend more time on his fitness and less on coaching – a sacrifice he is reluctant to take.
“We have got two or three draft prospects this year and other guys that could be smokies of going to a higher level,” the ex-Essendon and Richmond midfielder said.
“So I want to make sure I’m allowing them as talented Tasmanians to get as many opportunities as they possibly can.
“Full well knowing that this year has been difficult for some of them, especially the North-West boys with their location and losing their club at the start of the year.”
Launceston travels to Kingston’s Twin Ovals on Saturday to face Tigers, a side that surprisingly toppled it in round 13.
If the Blues defeat Tigers and are able to get over Glenorchy in the final home and away fixture, they are every chance to finish as high as third if other results fall in their favour.
North Launceston has the bye this week with contenders Clarence and Glenorchy to face off and North Hobart to host Lauderdale.
- North Launceston 60pts
- Glenorchy 40pts
- Clarence 40pts
- Launceston 36pts
- Lauderdale 36pts
- Tigers 12pts
- North Hobart 4pts
Clarence v Glenorchy
Tigers v Launceston
North Hobart v Lauderdale
Clarence v Tigers
Lauderdale v North Launceston
Launceston v Glenorchy
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